- What is Sacred Reading? Simply put, I would call it a structured way of approaching Scripture by taking a long enough moment to digest it.
- Why would we do Sacred Reading, especially when we have little to no time to put it in our busy schedules? Just as we may stop within the rush of our day to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner it is also healthy for us to stop and partake of His Word to sustain us.
- How do we do Sacred Reading? It can be simple or complex. It can be individual or within a small group or community. There are even many “methods” of how to do the structured part. Typically, we read a snippet of a passage four times and each time that we read the passage our focus shifts.
This blog post goes into great detail about one method of Sacred Reading: What is divine reading?
Psalm 102 is a Psalm of Lament. Psalms of Lament are movements of desperation towards God. It is a movement that takes place when we enter to a space of disorientation in our lives. Some may call it a desert or wilderness experience. Regardless, it is a segment of time that we endure where we may feel rejected and abandoned by God. If you are feeling this right now, you are not alone. Each disciple of Christ endures movements of disorientation in her or his life. Our world environment is sinful. We are all sinners. Sin binds itself throughout the layers of culture in our lives (gender, ethnicity, family, community, etc.).
Lament runs deep within us. It is emotional! Have you ever thought that it is a bad thing to be angry at God? What about sharing feelings of sadness or deep depression? God is emotional and it makes sense that the Scriptures are woven with emotions as well. God welcomes us where we are and our authentic selves.
I think that the more that we consider the locale and devastation of sin and its relational separating effects, the more we may quickly feel overwhelmed and defeated. Not that we cannot consider these things. When we do though I think it is necessary to think of Good. In our life’s spaces of chaos we stop and search for the One who is the embodiment of the Good News. We search for Jesus Christ. We search. We seek believing that we will find. We knock believing that the door will be open.
In the midst of the mundane, dead spaces – Life blossoms. This is a fragment of the Good News.
I have only chosen the first five verses for this reading. This, say, may be our breakfast reading.
102:1 The prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord. O Lord, hear my prayer! Pay attention to my cry for help! 2
102:5 Because of the anxiety that makes me groan, my bones protrude from my skin. 10
Movement One (Read)
In this movement, we search for a word or phrase that attracts our attention. We are searching for what the Holy Spirit is attempting to surface. The following comments consist of my own personal encounter with this passage.
“Do not ignore me in my time of trouble!”
Movement Two (Meditate)
In this movement, we will be attentive to the entire context of the passage. We will consider it. Be attentive to where and what the Holy Spirit is guiding us. We reflect and journal.
“In this Psalm, I relate to the feeling of being unheard. Of wondering when God will respond. I connect with desiring confirmation that God is both listening and present in my circumstance. I certainly appreciate wanting a quick response from the Lord when I call out to Him. My heart is parched. It is unsettled. It is not in a place of feeling centered, whole, and at peace. Anxiety is a constant companion. So close and present it is like a close sibling. So common is its presence that I have become accustomed to it and do not realize that it is even there. I have cried. I have screamed. I feel the pain and thirst to connect with You. The cultural dysfunctions that are embedded in my life cripple me. I feel like a victim. Think like a victim. Act like a victim. As it is, I do it all silently. Suffering and in pain, silently. I place a social smile on my face. I put my game face on over the pain and shame. It is a mask and I have sinned against You and others for not providing my authentic and true self. I have hidden my light under a bush.”
Movement Three (Pray)
Here we respond to what the Word is sharing in our life. We are authentic. Vulnerable.
“I seek the Creator who shared in forming me within my mother’s womb. You made me in Your image. I am called a child of God. I am called beloved. I am called into a new identity in You Jesus. I am cherished. I am chosen. I am valued. I am worth investing in, and You demonstrated this by enduring great suffering on my behalf. Further you do not stand by idle watching my pain, you still share in the pain. You feel and live it.
I knock on the doorway of Your grace and compassion. When I am honest with myself, I fear being abandoned and rejected by You. In the midst of my pain, I struggle with believing that You are working to bring wholeness into my life. Grant me endurance within the chaos. This world is hurt. In turn, it hurts in return. Help me to forgive as You have forgiven. That poisonous resentment would be leave my heart as I reflect on the One Who Is Love nailed unjustly on the cross. Give me the strength to open myself up in vulnerability and allow You to empower me to step out of the identity of being a victim.”
Movement Four (Act)
Here we reflect on an action that we may take today or this week in light of this passage.
“Lord Jesus, though I seek rescuing I believe that you are enlarging my soul. You are teaching me to be self-sufficient. To are broadening my empathy. Grant me the wisdom to boldly move rightly into the lives of others who are hurting. Not to rescue them, because I am an ambassador of the Great Physician and do not wish to blur the lines of identity. Let me not move in so quickly that I may enable dysfunctional sinful culture in the lives of those around me and myself. Let me fully digest that I am not defined by what I do, what others think, or what I possess. Let Your harmony be priority in my days.”
Movement Five (Rest)
Find rest in the Bread of Life. Find peace.
“You created the ears. Why would you not hear? You enjoy little sparrows. Why would you not care? I choose to have faith and belief in the Good News. Darkness would have me believe in anxiety and fear for survival. Your love tears down these towers and fortresses in my life. When I approach Your table I approach a King who has a mind for His Kingdom. Who does not give a rock when His child ask for Bread. Let anxiety, fear, and shame in my life decease and let the Good News increase in me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”